A Citizenship Dispute During the American Civil War - Part 1
A Citizenship Dispute During the American Civil War - Part 3

A Citizenship Dispute During the American Civil War - Part 2

Citizenship dispute copy
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In the last post, we found Mr. Fauconnet's response to be the more eloquent and to carry more weight. Colonel Robinson and, indeed, his superior,  Hurlbut, bowed out of the fight, allowing Major General Canby, Commandant of the Military Division of West Mississippi, to ride into the fray:
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"Hd. Qu. Mil. Div. West Miss. 
"New Orleans, Feby 21, 1865
"With the few exceptions recognized by the law of Nations, the accident of birth determines the question of native allegiance, and the duties and obligations of this relation are determined by the municipal laws of the country in which the parents are domiciled. The conditions of allegiance, incident to birth, continue until legally changed, and the burden of proofs rests upon the parties claiming exemption from its obligations. The municipal laws of the country of descent do not operate until the parties place themselves within the limits of its jurisdiction, and when the parents have been domiciled so long in this country that children born here have attained or are attaining their majority, the 'animus manendi' would seem to be so conclusively established that even the parents would, under the law of France, have lost their rights of citizenship on that country. At all events the intention of returning must be fully established before any question of exemption can be admitted.
"Edw. Canby
"Major Genl. Comdg."
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Fauconnet replied a couple of days later:
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"I the undersigned, Director of the Consulate of France, have had the honor to receive a note from Major Genl. Canby in response to that which I wrote on the 6th of February concerning persons born in this country to French parents. In it, while recusing the application of the French law in this Country as to the "status" of said persons, the General means to bend this same law to cast doubt upon the nationality of those who are French by birth to say that they, having resided here for so long that their children reach the age of majority, may be supposed to have lost their intention to return [to France].
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"The undersigned accept this interpretation of French law even less than will the Government of His Majesty, who reserves the sole right to determine its application and, according to each case, to grant or to withdraw from his subjects his protection.  As for persons in the United States having French parents, the accident of their birth can no more make them americans against their will in this country, than those americans born in France can be forced to take french nationality, even if they have passed the age of majority. This is explicit not only in french law but in the laws of the U.S.
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"I, the undersigned, will place this question before the government in Washington and to that effect will send a copy of this correspondence to the Chargé d'Affaires de France.
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"I, the undersigned, take this opportunity to renew the assurances of my highest respect and consideration for Maj. Gn. Canby.
"[Signed] The Director of the Consulate, Fauconnet."
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Our grandmother used extreme formality as a weapon; she would have understood perfectly Mr. Fauconnet's performance.
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©2012 Anne Morddel
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French Genealogy

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